1. At low concentrations of tetracycline (10μg/ml) net accumulation of the drug by Escherichia coli cells ceased after 7–10min. 2. At higher concentrations of tetracycline (>30μg/ml) the period of net accumulation of the drug was significantly extended. 3. The efflux of tetracycline from E. coli cells transferred from medium containing 10μg of tetracycline/ml to drug-free medium was a rapid temperature-dependent process and was accelerated by 2,4-dinitrophenol. 4. As the concentration of tetracycline in the preloading phase was increased, the rate of subsequent efflux of the drug progressively declined. The efflux of drug from cells preloaded in medium containing 200μg of tetracycline/ml was negligible, although efflux was readily provoked by 2,4-dinitrophenol, by N-ethylmaleimide or by omission of glucose from the medium. 5. The initial rate of uptake of tetracycline by E. coli cells was linearly proportional to the concentration of tetracycline in the medium up to the maximum concentration of drug obtainable under the experimental conditions used (400μg/ml, 0.83mm). 6. Although N-ethylmaleimide strongly inhibited the accumulation of tetracycline by E. coli, no evidence was obtained for the direct involvement of thiol groups in the transport process. It was concluded that N-ethylmaleimide inhibited accumulation by interruption of the energy supply of the cells. 7. Osmotic shock of E. coli cells did not significantly affect the influx of tetracycline, but promoted both efflux of tetracycline and cell lysis in cells treated with a high concentration of tetracycline. 8. A study of the distribution of tetracycline among the subcellular fractions of penicillin-induced spheroplasts preincubated with various concentrations of tetracycline indicated that 60–70% of the accumulated tetracycline was in the high-speed supernatant fraction. Sephadex chromatography showed that the tetracycline of this fraction was present as the free drug. Sephadex chromatography of a detergent extract of the membrane fraction, however, indicated that a significant proportion of the tetracycline radioactivity of this fraction was apparently bound to some macromolecular component. 9. Cellulose phosphate paper chromatography of cold-acid extracts of spheroplasts preloaded with tetracycline indicated that the accumulated drug was chemically unchanged. 10. Membrane preparations isolated from osmotically lysed penicillin-induced spheroplasts showed a temperature-dependent binding of tetracycline that was not energy-dependent and was not inhibited by N-ethylmaleimide. The binding process was stimulated by omitting Mg2+ from the medium, but conversely was profoundly inhibited by EDTA. 11. The relevance of these findings to the probable mechanism of active tetracycline accumulation by E. coli is discussed.

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